Signed by many human rights experts, parliamentarians and other eminent Canadians, an Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was just released by the Rideau Institute, further to their earlier report, entitled: Torture of Afghan Detainees: Canada’s Alleged Complicity and the Need for a Public Inquiry, (Omar Sabry, September, 2015, Rideau Institute and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives publishers).
This Open Letter comes just days before the Government of Canada must formally respond in writing to e-70 (Afghanistan), an electronic petition to Parliament calling on the Government of Canada “to establish an independent judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the facts with respect to policies, practices, legal and other opinions, decisions, and conduct of Canadian government actors, including Ministers and senior officials, concerning Afghan detainees throughout Canada's involvements in Afghanistan from 2001”.
Iraqi authorities must rein in all forces participating in the recapture of Falluja said Amnesty International today, amid reports that men and boys fleeing the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) had been tortured and otherwise ill-treated by government-backed militias and at least three had died as a result of torture.
Amnesty International has spoken to victims who described the torture and other ill-treatment meted out to them in detention and who claim to have witnessed killings.
“Civilians risking their lives to escape from IS atrocities must be protected and given the humanitarian aid they desperately need. Instead it seems that some are having to run the gauntlet of being subjected to further abuse and reprisal attacks,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
A woman who was tortured for 15 hours to confess to a crime and has been languishing in prison for nearly four years must be released without delay, said Amnesty International ahead of a key decision on the case.
Yecenia Armenta Graciano was arrested in July 2012 by local police officers in the northern state of Sinaloa. She was raped, asphyxiated and hung from her feet upside down until she was forced to confess to murdering her husband. The only direct evidence presented against her was the statement obtained under torture. She has been in prison since then.
The Sinaloa Attorney General has a deadline of 5 May to inform the judge in charge of the case whether he thinks Yecenia should be convicted or acquitted. This is the same authority responsible for the torture of Yecenia.
“Yecenia is one of thousands of victims of Mexico’s wicked judicial system, one that all too often relies on confessions extracted under torture and other ill-treatment to sentence people,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
Pakistani authorities must carry out an independent, thorough and transparent inquiry into the torture and death of political activist Aftab Ahmad while he was in the custody of the Rangers, a paramilitary force under the command of the Pakistan Army, Amnesty International said today.
The call comes after the Director-General of the Rangers, Maj. Gen. Bilal Akber, admitted that Aftab Ahmad was tortured in custody and ordered an internal investigation into the circumstances of his death.
“It will not suffice for the Rangers to investigate themselves. A series of contradictory statements by the paramilitary force in the hours since the news of Aftab Ahmad’s death emerged point to attempts to mislead the public and resist accountability,” said Jameen Kaur, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South Asia.
“The chilling revelation that Aftab Ahmad was tortured and died in the Rangers’ custody must result in an independent, efficient and transparent investigation.”
The convictions of three Filipino nationals on charges of espionage were yesterday upheld by Qatar’s Court of Cassation. The Court upheld one life term and two sentences of 15 years’ imprisonment.
James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle and North Africa programme, said:
“The court’s decision to uphold the convictions of these three men, after an unfair trial in which the authorities totally failed to investigate credible allegations of torture, is the latest demonstration of the deep flaws in Qatar’s criminal justice system, particularly as regards its treatment of migrant workers”.
“The authorities should immediately announce a full investigation into these men’s torture allegations and review the way these trials have been conducted. All torture-tainted evidence must be excluded.”
“This case speaks volumes about the sincerity of the government’s stated commitment to extend justice to migrant workers.”
Posted at 0001hrs GMT 21 April 2016
Hundreds of asylum-seekers, refugees and migrant workers have been deported and even abducted in forced returns from Russia to Uzbekistan, where they have been subjected to torture, said Amnesty International in a briefing released today.
The briefing, Fast-track to Torture: Abductions and Forcible Returns from Russia to Uzbekistan, examines how the Russian authorities have cooperated with Uzbekistan in hundreds of deportation cases despite clear risks that individuals could be tortured upon return. In the rare instances that Russia has denied extradition requests, Uzbekistani security forces have been granted free reign to abduct wanted nationals from Russian soil.
“The Russian authorities are not simply turning a blind eye to torture and injustice in Uzbekistan, they are lending a helping hand,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.
We're still celebrating the release of scores of prisoners of conscience in Myanmar, including student leader Phyoe Phyoe Aung, on April 8!
And now we get to take a moment to reflect on how amazing March was for human rights – activists were released, unfair laws were changed, and people who committed serious human rights abuses were brought to justice. We’ve picked out 15 successes, wins and pieces of good news, and they were all made possible thanks to your support.
>> For the latest good news stories, click here!
A historic ruling by a Philippines court this week in which a police officer was convicted of torturing bus driver Jerryme Corre plants a seed of hope that the tide may be turning against impunity for perpetrators of torture, Amnesty International said today.
It is first under the country’s 2009 Anti-Torture Act, and follows a three-year campaign by Amnesty International. The organization took up Jerryme Corre’s case in December 2013 – one year after his arrest – in its global Stop Torture campaign.
“Jerryme has spent more than four years in prison while under trial on trumped-up charges against him, after suffering horrific torture at the hands of the police. The conviction of the officer involved sends a clear message that the torture must stop and that the perpetrators will be brought to book,” said Champa Patel, Director at Amnesty International’s South East Asia Regional Office.
The Honourable Bill Graham, former Canadian Minister of National Defence, states in his recently released biography that representatives of Amnesty International were “emphatic” in exchanges with him in 2005 that prisoners apprehended by the Canadian military on the battlefield in Afghanistan should be transferred to the custody of Afghan authorities.
That was not the organization’s position at that time or at any time. Amnesty International has never called on the Canadian government to transfer prisoners to the Afghan government.
The release on bail of Mahmoud Hussein in the early hours of this morning offers a faint glimmer of hope for Egypt’s deeply flawed justice system, said Amnesty International.
The 20-year-old spent more than two years behind bars after being arrested at the age of 18 in 2014 for wearing a “Nation Without Torture” T-shirt, and a scarf with a logo of the “25 January Revolution”. He was charged with belonging to a banned group and attending an unauthorised protest, amongst other things.
He was released at 1am this morning local Cairo time and reunited with his family after a court upheld his release yesterday on 24 March.
“Mahmoud Hussein’s release is way overdue - he has spent more than two years in prison when he should never have spent a single day behind bars. The Egyptian authorities must now drop the absurd charges against him and remove all conditions on his release so that he can be allowed to get on with his life,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.
Canadian Citizen Detained in UAE for 527 Days
For over 500 days Salim Alaradi’s family and human rights organizations have been stressing that Alaradi is a political prisoner, a victim of regional politics and his detainment is related to internal Libyan affairs. Today lawyers confirmed that the prosecution file confirms exactly this.
On January 18, 2016 Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi as well as American nationals Kamal and Mohamed ElDarat, charged in the same case, learnt of their charges for the first time in court. Paul Champ, Alaradi’s Canadian lawyer, described the charges as “bizarre.” Alaradi denied all charges that alleged he funded, supported and co-operated with two Libyan organizations – Libyan Dawn (a Libyan military operation) and the February 17 Brigade (a legitimate military body) which formed during the 2011 revolution and no longer exists.
The UAE has alleged that both are terrorist organizations but neither entity named in the charges is listed by the Libyan government, Canadian government, US government or the United Nation as terrorist entities.
Canadian Citizen Detained in UAE for 503 Days
After nearly 17 months of detention in the United Arab Emirates without charge or access to a lawyer, the family of Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi has learned he will be prosecuted by UAE authorities. The man from Windsor, Ontario will learn the charges against him at the start of trial on January 18, 2016 before the State Security Chamber of the UAE Federal Supreme Court.
Alaradi, a successful businessman and father of five young children, was seized by UAE State Security officials in Abu Dhabi on August 28, 2014. Alaradi was held in a secret prison for three months before UAE authorities acknowledged his detention and transferred him to local Al Whatba prison. Canadian consular officials made repeated requests to visit Alaradi, but were only allowed to see him three times during his first year in detention. Local lawyers hired by Alaradi’s family were repeatedly denied access to him until being allowed a first visit this week, only a few days before the trial begins.
Posted at 0001hrs GMT 14 January 2015
New evidence of deaths in custody and torture collected by Amnesty International suggests that brutal repression is on the rise again in Tunisia exactly five years after the toppling of the previous authoritarian regime by the “Jasmine Revolution”, which sparked a wave of uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.
During a visit to Tunisia in December last year, Amnesty International collected information about deaths in police custody as well as allegations of torture carried out in the course of police interrogations.
“Five years ago Tunisians rose up and threw off the shackles of authoritarianism. Torture and repression were hallmarks of former President Ben-Ali’s regime; they must not be allowed to become defining features of post-uprising Tunisia,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program.
A 14-year-old boy who says he was raped in detention by Egyptian National Security agents must be immediately released and those responsible for torturing him brought to justice, Amnesty International said today.
Mazen Mohamed Abdallah’s family told the organization the teenager was repeatedly tortured in custody, given electric shocks on his genitals and had a wooden stick repeatedly thrust into his anus as police forced him to confess to protesting without authorization and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.
“The horrific abuse described by Mazen Mohamed Abdallah gives a sickening insight into the widespread and routine use of torture and ill-treatment by Egyptian security forces in police stations,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
“That such abuse is meted out against children in detention is utterly deplorable.”